Four short stories by Jack J. Ward
19 June 2023
Season 11, Episode 06
Re-Imagined Radio presents four short science fiction radio stories by Jack J. Ward, an award-winning writer, director, actor, and producer of audio drama. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That's about as far East as one can drive a car in Canada, before running into the Atlantic Ocean. We call this episode "Coast to Coast," to signify that Jack and his radio dramas comes to us here on the Northwest Coast of the United States from the Northeast Coast of Canada, through radio, the teleportal trans-experiental time warp theatre of the mind.
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Re-Imagined Radio presents four short science fiction radio stories by Jack J. Ward. Each is in the style of the X Minus One radio series. Each is an episode of Ward's The Wave Front Shorts Anthology series, 2006-2021.
Galaxy Master versus the Varn
In this story, a Hollywood movie actor, Edward Quinn, who plays the character title character "Galaxy Master," is abducted by aliens, the Varn, because they feel his portrayals of the galaxy's leading villain eclipses their own reputation. Quinn's agent, Hal, negotiates with N-Chuck, lead representative for the Varn, to replace Quinn in the upcoming "Galaxy Master" movie. The Varn are happy to establish themselves as the baddest villains in the galaxy. Hal is happy with the prospect of making more money from the change. Edward? Well, he is taken away by the Varn. This story is typical of Jack's imagination, and his particular love of the works of Harry Harrison. Ward credits Harrison's novel Bill the Galactic Hero as inspiration for "Galaxy Master versus the Varn."
In an afterlife you wait at a nice restaurant before your final destination is decided. That outcome, in Ward's imagination, is uncertain, thanks to time travel. In "Reservations," Ward enjoys crossing the boundaries between faith and fantasy and science and science fiction, asking questions about how the dangers of a time travelling interference might mess up someone's eternal destinations. If there were a place to go after this one, and everything is planned, how does new and unnatural technology propel people into, out of, or through those plans by some eternal wardens? Another tribute to Ward's imagination.
Alien Invasion Cancelled
In this radio drama, Ward asks, "What if aliens decide not to help Earthers because the effort would not be valued on social media? What would humanity be like, truly, should we have absolute proof of aliens in our skies? How would we respond given our voracious appetite for untempered tabloid entertainment?" Ward is fascinated with human obsession to be mirrored in the technology of others. Does how we see ourselves in the modern age depend on how we want to be seen and how all our "followers" want to engage? People entering the world of social media as "Influencers" must navigate a labyrinth of choices between doing what the current social beliefs allow online, while pushing to stand out from the noise of the many other Youtubers, Bloggers, TikTokers, and Podcasters that have their own voices and content. From the November 2004 filming of the "Tic Tac" UFO sighting by Naval aviator Chad Underwood off the coast of San Diego, California, to Chinese spy ballons tracked across the United States, many people on social media provided within the poles of "lauding the whistleblowers" to "calling out those engaged in Project Bluebeam" what Ward calls "the myriad of hot takes." The one in this story has very real repercussions.
Our final radio story by Ward is about the last woman on Earth and her resistance to being incorporated into the cloud. Ward says, "the idea of 'being human' has been challenged by such visionaries as Aldous Huxley, Alvin Toffler, and Ray Kurzwell. "As an English teacher and lover of all things representing the terrible mortality of being human," he says, "the idea of leaving all that behind for a kind of permanence online where pain, sorrow, loss, and limitation is abhorrent to me. Some of the greatest artists in the history of humanity have come from those who lived in very strict limitations of health and perception. Imagination from the wetware of our brains transcends the digital landscape of a very orderly computer server system."
READ the "Coast to Coast" working script.
Minor changes may have been made in production. Otherwise, this is an accurate textual description of what is heard in our broadcast.
"Galaxy Master versus the Varn," "Reservations," "Alien Invasion Cancelled," and "Trans-Humanity" written and produced by Jack J. Ward
Episode Written, Produced, and Hosted by John F. Barber
Sound Design, Music, and Post Production by Marc Rose of Fuse Audio Design
Promotional Graphics by Holly Slocum Design
The four short science fiction radio stories presented in this episode were all written and directed by Jack Jamie Ward, an award-winning writer, director, actor, and producer of audio dramas, and more. He likes to use the term "audio drama" to signify what he does. Read Ward's autobiography at The Sonic Society webpage.
Jack is Canadian. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That's about as far East as one can drive a car in Canada, before running into the Atlantic Ocean. This episode's title, "Coast to Coast," signifies that Jack's radio dramas travel to us here on the Northwest Coast of the United States from the Northeast Coast of Canada through the mysterious ether of radio.
Jack Ward's prolific output as an author, director, and producer of fantasy, comedy, horror, drama, classic suspense, and dramaturge of experimental theatre is extensive. It's been ongoing for two decades now. Some details are provided below. Many examples of Jack's work in audio drama are available at Google podcasts.
The Sonic Cinema Production Classic Series, 2003-2005
Ward's first original anthology series, combining suspense and dark fantasy. Shadowlands became the basis for the Deadly Sins Series and others.
The Seven Deadly Sins
A seven-part series of original tales from dark comedy to darker horror, exploring the turning parts of the soul. Six parts completed: "Pride: And Low, Thou I Walk," "Envy: Completion," Gluttony: Soul Survivor" (Ogile Award Honorable Mention), "Lust: Spin, Spin, Spin," "Wrath: The Hitchhiker," and "Greed: Ghosts of the Present." Listen to "Greed: Ghosts of the Present."
The noir tales of a female detective. Phillipa Graves stars. "Open for Business," the series pilot, was the first audio drama script written by Ward, when he was in University.
In the pilot episode, Ward's imaginary pulp hero Stephen "Biff" Straker parodies Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon as he takes part in a secret experiment to prove Albert Einstein's Theory of Relative Time. The experiment goes wrong and Straker is thrown from the 1990s into the 31st Century!
A single Shadowlands episode exploring remote viewing and the depths of fear.
With the tagline "More Action than a Burma Railroad," this was a live tribute to the great Fawlty Towers series by John Cleese and Connie Booth.
Firefly: Old Wounds
The Internet's first fan fiction audio drama of the science-fiction television classic, Firefly. Ward and colleagues imagined the second season of the television show that never was. "Nothing's the Best Thing" (episode 1), "All Alone in the Black" (episode 2), "The Hub" (episode 3), "Religiosity" (epiode 4), "Faith" (episode 5), "Mail Job" (episode 6). More information and listening opportunties for all episodes at the Serenity Firefly website.
The Dead Line Anthology
Tales of crime drama inspired by Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The initial run included: "Goth Girl," "Jeremiah Crandal, Funeral Detective," "Messages," "Right Number Wrong Party," "The Replacement Show," and "Rule of Three."
The Dead Line Shorts Anthology
Short (less than a half hour) stories. Initial episodes included: "Anniversary," "Choice," "Deathbed Confessions," "Duel," "Fiend to the Old," "John," "Lighter," and "Night Driving and Sherry.
Electric Vicuna Productions, 2006-2021
Firefly: Old Wounds
The series continued with "Wedding Day Part 1," "Wedding Day Part 2," and "Wedding Day Omnibus." Listen to "Wedding Day, Part 1," below. Also available here at Libsyn. More information and listening opportunties for all episosdes at the Serenity Firefly website.
The Wave Front Anthology
A science fiction collection that explores futuristic societies, distopic nightmares, technological travesties and bleak tomorrows. Initial episodes included: "Borrowed Time," "Black Knight," "Alone in the Night" (Mark Time Silver award winner), and "Voting is Anonymous."
The Wave Front Shorts Anthology
Short (less than a half hour) stories. Initial episodes included: "Acquisitions," "Alien Invasion Cancelled," "Distant Voice," "Galaxy Master versus the Varn," "Name Please," "Nanites," "Pets," "Reservations," "Spring," "Trans-Humanity," and "Voices."
The Dead Line Anthology
Series continued. Episodes included: "Faith" also as the final Deadly Sins script for "Sloth," "Daybreak," "Coach #6," "Clay Pigeon Shooting."
The Dead Line Shorts Anthology
Series continued. Episodes included: "I'm Home."
Darker Musings Anthology Series
An anthology series of fantastical mystery and terror. Inspired by Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, each episode included an air of fantastical mystery, terror, another world that may be an alternate universe, or a terrifying nightmare, one in which the characters can not wake up. Initial episodes included: "Breathing Space" (one-man show), "Muse of Madness," "One by One," and "Phil Morris: Celestial Lawyer."
The Darker Musings Shorts Anthology
Short (less than a half hour) stories. Initial episodes included original and original adaptations of "Barney," "Bravery," "Plague Studies," "The Chaser," "The Monkey's Paw," and "Tulpa."
A coming of age fantasy series in ten parts. Gate McNeil, a young girl, discovers she is the one person who can challenge the darkness and demons threatening to take over the world.
The Jack and Shannon Show
In an homage to great sit-coms of old, two hosts of The Sonic Society fictionalize their life and friends. Ran for three seasons.
The amazing adventures of Stephen "Biff" Straker continue. No longer a parody of Buck Rogers and Flash Gorden, this reboot is a fun action series. Initial episodes included: "Year Zero: The Future is Now," "The Haunted World," "The Fallen Angel," The Pool of Death," and "The Man Called Methuselah" (still in production). Listen at the Google podcast page.
Consortium Comics Anthology
A series of superhero shorts by Jack J. Ward. Initial episodes included: "Blue Defender" and "Any Man" (still in production).
Action Adventure Audio Theatre
Pulp-pounding adventures inspired by the Old Time Radio series Escape. Initial episode: "The Most Dangerous Game" in production.
The Sonic Cinema Production Returns Series: 2022-present
Retro Rockets Anthology
From the far-flung silver age of science fiction, comes a new anthology. The initial episode, "Spirit Drive" is in production.
The Wave Front Anthology
The series continues with "Market Crash" (still in production).
The Christmas Wreath
Seasonal stories to touch the heart and delight the ear. Initial release: "The Gift of the Magi" is in production.
Series Currently in Production (Unreleased)
Starring Stephen "Biff" Straker (New World). Episodes 6-10 of Year Zero. More seasons to follow.
A Weird Western 10-part audio drama series.
Flight of the Airmen
At the turn of the 20th century who are the protectors of the skies for this strange modern age? The Airmen of Canada!
Ripped from the archives of the fictional radio theatre of the 1930's. Wingman and Fly Boy save the world from Nazi infiltrators and evil criminals in America!
Adventures by North!
In the early 1920's in Canada, a group of adventurers explore every mystery the vast country conceals!
The Fates of Mace Windu
What happened to Mace Windu at the end of George Lucas' Star Wars prequel? This fan fiction 6-part series explores answers.
John Carter and A Princess of Mars
The first full-audio drama adaptation of the best-selling novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs! Explores the original Science Romance of the first of the pulp space heroes.
Adapted Scripts Produced for Colonial Radio Theatre
On a restless ocean, a group of weary survivors contemplate their grim fortune: What had started out as a fun little fishing trip soon turns into a nightmare of damnation, trapped on a floating prison. Available at Amazon.
Vincent Price Presents Volume 3
"The Best in the Universe."" Dramatized by Jack J. Ward, from a story by Paul J. Salamoff. Assignments on frontier planets always irritated intergalactic mob hitman Randall Stiles and his partner Jake Mackey and this mission would soon prove why. Available at Amazon.
Throughout this body of work, Ward considers Rod Serling (1924-1975), American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, and narrator/on-screen host, to be his spiritual writing mentor. These examples of Ward's original works, and more, are collected and available at the Apple podcasts website under the banner of Sonic Cinema Productions, previously Electric Vicuna Productions.
The Sonic Society
In addition to writing, directing, and producing audio drama, Jack keeps himself pretty busy there in Halifax. In September 2005, he created The Sonic Society, a weekly podcast of new audio dramas. Co-hosted by Ward and David Ault, The Sonic Society is the largest and longest running showcase of contemporary international audio dramas.
Ward's many, many contribution to The Sonic Society include . . .
Ward interviews the makers and shapers of the audio drama world.
Sonic Summerstock Playhouse
The summer season of the Sonic Society where producers from the modern audio drama community recreate old time radio scripts for fun with their contemporary acting troops!
The Mutual Audio Drama Network
Ward founded The Mutual Audio Drama Network, in 2019, to expand the mission of The Sonic Society. He was helped, and still is, by other audio drama writers/producers like Lothar Tuppan (The Ninth Tower Productions), Jeffrey Billard (Audio Groove Cats), John Bell (Bell's in the Batfry), Pete Lutz (Narada Radio Company), JV Torres (The Rise of King Asilas), Scott Mosher (CNY Table Reads), David Ault (Audio Drama's 6 degrees premium actor and co-host of the Sonic Society), Richard Frohlich (Texas Radio Theater), Tanja Milojevic (Lightningbolt Theatre of the Mind), and Richard Summers (Captain Radio). The Mutual Audio Drama Network operates as the world's largest curated collection of active audio drama, audio fiction, and nerd culture podcasts. The group of founders work together—many host over a dozen podcasts on Mutual—and call themselves "The United Artists of Audio."
Ward is busy
Whether a host of The Sonic Society, or Sonic Echo, his look back into classic radio drama with Tuppan and Billard, or his interviews with innovators of the craft in the show Sonic Speaks, or his collaboration as an actor, co-writer, and producer, Ward is busy. He personally programmed the entire Mutual Audio Network catalogue of plays and audio fiction for the last five years culminating in over 6,000 shows. Ward created the Audio Drama Ratings system using the movie rating system as a template. He took the famous NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge of writing a 50,000 word manuscript during the month of November and has declared February National Audio Drama Writing Month (NADSWRIM)). Ward has created and continues to run the world's only fully Audio Drama yearly convention, MADCON, and works to provide the panel members to an audience of listeners and artists eager to learn the medium.
Audio drama is Jack Ward's passion. "Audio Drama has a vibrant community of like-minded artists," he says, "nothing quite matches the immediate response that can come from producing a story in the audio format."
We agree, and would add, "Nothing quite matches listening to well-crafted radio stories."
So, when Jack called, from Nova Scotia, Canada, saying he heard Re-Imagined Radio and wanted it for his Sonic Society, well, boy howdy, we were excited! In return, we asked Jack to send samples of his own audio dramas. He sent several, each in the genre of 1950s science fiction adventure stories heard on the X-Minus One series. We picked four to share in this episode. Each are part of his Wave Front anthology series. They showcase Ward's broad range and diversity of creative ideas. And, they're very interesting, and fun!
Special thanks to Maureen Keller, Syliva Lindman, and Brenda Alling for promoting this episode of Re-Imagined Radio.
READ their Press Release
Coast to Coast web poster by Holly Slocum (240 x 356)
Coast to Coast cover graphic by Holly Slocum (820 x 360)
Coast to Coast landscape poster by Holly Slocum (1910 x 1080)
Coast to Coast square poster by Holly Slocum (2000 x 2000)
Coast to Coast full poster by Holly Slocum (2000 x 3000)
Name: Coast to Coast
Tagline: Four Short Stories by Jack J. Ward
Description: Re-Imagined Radio presents four short science fiction radio stories by Jack J. Ward, an award-winning writer, director, actor, and producer of audio drama based in Nova Scotia, Canada. We sample four of his radio stories, "Galaxy Master versus the Varn," "Reservations," "Alien Invasion Cancelled," and "Trans-Humanity," each in style of the X Minus One radio series.
Program type: Episodic
Media type: Radio broadcast, live stream, podcast
Premier broadcast: 19 June 2023, KXRW-FM, Vancouver, WA, KXRY-FM, Portland, OR
Recording availability: Podcast
Recording specs: Audio, MP3, stereo, 44.1Hz, 320kbps
Recording name: rir-coast-to-coast.mp3
Categories: Radio drama, Documentary radio performance
Keywords: radio drama, storytelling, documentary, Jack Ward, Canada
Script: Original script(s) adapted, research, commentary by John F. Barber
Producer/Host: John F. Barber
Sound Design/Music Composition: Marc Rose